TORONTO: Drawing on in-depth customer insights helped the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) ensure its mobile wallet service truly met the needs of users, rather than being led solely by the latest technology.

Having launched RBC Wallet in January, the firm has already accrued various learnings which should stand it in good stead as competition in the category grows, not least thanks to the introduction of Apple Pay.

Linda Mantia, its evp/cards and emerging payments, told delegates at a recent conference that a six-month road test of the organisation's mobile wallet with 60 consumers and merchants had proved essential.

"Our goal when it came to mobile was to make commerce easier, safer and more rewarding for our consumer clients and our merchant clients," she said.

"It had to be faster to check out, especially for the quick-service retailers." (For more, including more details of RBC's steps in peer-to-peer payments, read Warc's exclusive report: Canada's RBC shows Apple the way in mobile payments.)

Instead of creating a product in the "hope that it would address the needs" of RBC's clients, the half-year trial aimed to guarantee it would. "We wanted to validate and improve before bringing this to the market," said Mantia.

She continued: "We shared prototypes of our solutions and further potential innovations, and worked together to improve the solutions for our customers – the merchants and the clients – all based on their feedback."

The result – "as far as we know", Mantia conceded – was a new high-water mark in terms of a Canadian financial services provider embedding its customers in this process.

Overall, RBC expects its clients to transact some 350 million times via the full suite of mobile tools in 2014, and it has rolled out the Secure Cloud product to help ensure the safety of these payments.

It has also integrated RBC Wallet with a range of rewards programs to make it as useful to users as possible. "This is a core piece of infrastructure," she said.

Data sourced from Warc